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YOU NEED TO RESIGN AND BE JAILED: NFA Boss Sweets As Land Probe Unearths Corruption And Criminality In The Authority

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Mr. Onyango Gershom (in red tie) after the grilling

A team of National Forestry Authority (NFA) officials led by Mr. Onyango Gershom, the Chairman Board of directors were yesterday grilled by the Commission of Inquiry into land matters over the high level of corruption, abuse of office and criminality in the Authority.

John Bosco Suuza the Deputy lead Counsel of the Commission tasked Onyango to explain how government lost 320 acres of land where Kajjansi Central Forestry reserve was situated to private individuals.

Onyango testified that the Authority legal team told the board that they tried to convince court that the disputed land belongs to NFA. He added that as the board, they had instructed the management of NFA together with the legal department to consult the office of the Attorney General and Solicitor General plus other senior lawyers to see how they can handle the appeal to get back the land but they were overwhelmed by the many cases the Authority has.

He added that they only have two lawyers and four prosecutors from the office of the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) who are supposed to deal with over 208 cases countrywide.

Onyango’s explanation made Suuza more furious and warned him to stop hiding behind the consulting office of the Attorney General and Solicitor General, he branded the
consultations as bogus. Suuza said that  NFA acted knowingly not to appeal against the judgment until they were out of time.

“Mr Onyango, what you must understand is that all of us here have been around, we know the games you people have been playing to assist the land grabbers to take public land owned by over 40 million of Ugandans,” Suuza said. Suuza revealed that it was Onyango who started the scheme to give away Kajjansi forestry reserve in 2011 when he granted the land to Logic Real Estate Limited allegedly owned by tycoon Ephraim
Ntaganda and Bob Kanabi. He said that Ntaganda used Onyango’s consent letter to convince the by then line Minister Betty Bigombe to write to him a no objection letter which he presented to the land registration and he was given a land title.

Suuza noted that after Ntaganda and others obtain the land title, they subdivided the land and sold it to private individuals who are now building houses on it. He further branded Onyango as an unserious person who doesn’t deserve to chair the NFA board because even before the judgment on Kajjansi was made, he (Onyango) had already prepared the cost to be paid to land grabbers who defeated NFA in Court.  Suuza told Onyango, who was sweating all over that him and the board had put aside Shs1.1bn and when it was taxed it becomes Shs900m plus the Shs200m in general damages.

Onyango who was breathing profusely defended himself that he was not the one who prepared the money to be given to the land grabbers as their costs, but it was Steven Bagonza the Director in charge of Finance who introduced the bill to the board and they approved it.

Commissioner Fred Ruhindi intervened and exposed Onyango as a very complicated person together with his board because after frustrating their case they ran to government lawyers to be rescued from the trouble. He reminded him that when he was
still the Attorney General, they always ran to them on cases which were already lost in Courts of law which gave them sleepless nights. He wondered why NFA an independent body doesn’t appeal immediately but has to wait for some time to elapse so that they can run to to government lawyers for help.

He added that NFA people are working like fraudsters and conniving with land grabbers. He gave an example of when the Commission visited Kajjansi forestry reserve, NFA officials knowingly declined to show them the place where Ntaganda and friends were building. He said that after the Commission investigators learnt that there was a place which they didn’t visit, they went back with the Commissioners and they were besieged by army men for a period of time.

He warned him that the incident showed the Commission that NFA was indeed conniving with powerful people who have access to military men to grab land.

Commissioner George Bagonza tasked Onyango to confirm to the Commission whether it’s true that he is a forester because the way he handled public forests shows otherwise.

He further pinned him for just sitting and watching while forestry land in Bugoma forest in Hoima, Kajjansi, Nonve  and Kimaka were being sold to private. He told him that in developed societies, by tomorrow, Onyango would have tendered in his resignation.

Bagonza was supported by Suuza who noted that whatever Onyango and his board did against the public forests was criminal and if possible, they should be in Luzira or other prison centers. He added that one of the board members made a statement before the commission pining Onyango and other NFA staff for conniving with land grabbers who grabbed forest reserves and recommended that the entire board be disbanded and resolved completely.

Court of appeal justice Catherine Bamugemereire who chaired the Commission noted that once a criminal case is committed, it can’t rot and at any time the suspect can be prosecuted in courts
of law even if the crime changes the name.  NFA is responsible for over 506 central forest reserves sited on 1.8m hectares around the country but much of it is already titled. The commission is still investigating the matter.

 

By Jamil Lutakome

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Ugandans Are Tired Of Your Impunity, Very Soon You Will Cause Anarchy In This Country – Minister Kutesa’s Son- In- Law Grilled

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Muganga (in spects) before the land probe

City tycoon Albert Muganga, the son-in-law to the Foreign Affairs Minister Sam Kahamba Kutesa is still shaking his head and thinking about the prophetic statements made against him by land probe commissioners.

Muganga, the proprietor of Kenlloyd Logistics Uganda Limited, who married Ishta Kutesa, a daughter to Kutesa and co-owns Pioneer Bus Company was informed that Ugandans are bitter and tired of the way they use their connections to carryout impunity against them with a mission to enrich themselves.

“Mr. Muganga, get it from me that Ugandans are bitter against you people who take yourself to be so special and run every business in this country. You must stop that arrogancy. You claim that you help the government to provide public transport to Ugandans, you mean you are the only ones who are in this business of transporting Ugandans? What we can tell Ugandans is that you are providing riches for yourselves not Ugandans.  Ok, if you think that Ugandans love you and your company (Pioneer easy bus company) let us organize a referendum, that’s when you will discover that Ugandans are tired of you people,” soft-spoken commissioner George Tikamanyire Bagonza said. 

Bagonza further warned Muganga that one day, their group will pay for the impunity they are doing today to Ugandans by grabbing public properties for free and later demanding for billions in compensation because they are connected to powerful people in government offices. He said that such impunity is creating tribalism in this country which will soon result into anarchy and lead to the death of innocent people.

The soft-spoken man from Bunyoro was supported by justice Catherine Bamugemereire the chairperson of the commission who asked Muganga to tip other Ugandans how he gets opportunities to be awarded juicy government contracts in a controversial manner. She cited the construction of the Standard Gauge Railway. Bamugemereire further revealed that there is a click of youthful people who think that they have to illegally occupy public properties and space like swamps and forest reserves with a hidden motive of asking for compensation. She warned him that in other countries, people like him would be in jail for grabbing public land which the government obtained using tax payer’s money.

The tough Bamugemereire pinned Muganga that he gave NRM party diehard, who is also the commissioner Uganda Land Commission, Hajjat Madinah Nsereko money to corrupt other commissioners who sit on the commission to fraudulently award his company a Namboole stadium lease at a cheap.

Bamugemereire wondered how bags of money blinded an old man like Baguma Isoke’s to the extent of him awarding government land to Pioneer without the consent of the Namboole stadium management. She revealed that Muganga and company first used a one Norah Nabagesera who was compensated by government in 1989 when the government was acquiring Namboole stadium land to establish the stadium to come back and claim for the same land.

The court of Appeal justice told Muganga that he facilitated Nabagesera by paying all her legal fees to drag the stadium management and the Attorney General to court well knowing that the land which shewas fighting for was not hers.

Commissioner Robert Sebunya tasked Muganga to explain how Pioneer Easy Bus was transferred from former minister Mathew Rukikaire’s hands to him. He warned Muganga to stop boosting that he provids public transport to Ugandans, something that was supposed to be done by the government.

The former Buganda kingdom health minister stated that many Ugandans are crying after losing jobs because of Pioneer Easy Buses.

He cited other companies which are providing the same services like Pioneer Easy Buses like Awakula Ennume bus company, taxis and bodabodas but were not given government incentives like they did to Pioneer Buses company. Commissioner Joyce Habaasa tasked Muganga to explain why he is not paying ground rent to the government yet he was using its land.

Muganga defended himself that he is not paying ground rent to government because he is not using the land. He blamed the commission of inquiry into land matters for stopping him from opening the boundaries of the land.

Lead counsel Ebert Byenkya tasked Muganga to explain to the commission why he only paid Shs598m for the lease on the 30 acres of land for five years with a condition to extend it to 49 years yet an acre in Bweyogerere where Namboole land is located, costs over shs200m (which means Muganga was supposed to pay Shs1.6billion), he said that this could be the reason why Muganga sidelined Namboole stadium when purchasing the land.

MUGANGA DEFENDS HIMSELF

Muganga testified that in 2016, together with his partner James Yafero, they applied for a lease in Uganda land commission because they wanted to establish a bus terminal. He boosted that they paid a lot of money in that transaction even though they signed an agreement with the government to be given the contested land to help ease public transport in the country. He told the commission that he was first defrauded of shs150m by Nabagesera who misled him that he was the owner of the land. 

The commission is still investigating the matter.

By Jamil Lutakome

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PICTURES: We Have Agreed: M7, Kagame Shake Hands, Sign Agreement To End Tension

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President Museveni has signed an agreement with his Rwandan counterpart Paul Kagame to improve the political and economic relations between the two countries.

According to president Museveni, the signing of the agreement was witnessed by Dennis Sassou Nguesso, the Chairman of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region in the presence of Angolan President Joao Lourenco and DR Congo President Felix Tshisekedi.

“Today, I joined my counterparts from Angola, DR Congo, Rwanda and Congo Brazzaville in Luanda, as together with President Paul Kagame, we signed an agreement to improve the political and economic relations between our countries.

We have agreed on a raft of issues that will be implemented between our two countries, largely meant to improve our security, trade, and political relations. Uganda is fully committed to enforcing this agreement.

I thank Presidents; Joao Lourenco of Angola and Felix Tshisekedi of DR Congo for overseeing this process. I also thank His Excellency Dennis Sassou Nguesso for witnessing the signing as Chair of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region,” Museveni confirmed.

Tension mounted in March this year when Rwanda’s security at Gatuna border barred Ugandan trucks from crossing to either side of the border. Rwandan authorities blocked vehicles or Ugandans from entering or exiting the country.

Both presidents later made remarks which were seen as threatening to each other, with Museveni warning that “those who try to destabilize our country do not know our capacity” and Kagame countering that “nobody anywhere can bring me to my knees.”

By Doreen Menezer

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SYSTEM VOLONGOTO: UTL Saga Deepens, IGG Petitioned To Investigate Anite Tormentors, Rukutana And Muhakanizi Over Their Huge Wealth Worth Trillions

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L-R: Rukutana, Anite and Muhakanizi

The Uganda Telecom Limited (UTL) saga has taken a new twist after David Ssemwanga, a concerned Ugandan petitioned the office of the Inspector General of Government (IGG) Irene Mulyagonja to investigate the massive wealth owned by Attorney General (AG) William Byaruhanga, his deputy Mwesigwa Rukutana and Permanent Secretary (PS) to finance Keith Muhakanizi.

According to Ssemwanga’s petition, he alleges that top government officials have accumulated a lot of wealth through corruption and abuse of their offices because the huge wealth worth trillions of shillings that they own does now reflect the monthly salaries they receive from government.

“The mentioned public officials have been on record disagreeing to the audit into Uganda Telecom Communication limited,” Ssemwanga stated. In his letter, Ssemwanga alleges that, “”Infact, Mr. Rukutana owns 5 arcades, 6 storied apartments in Zana and 2 houses in Kololo. Keith Muhakanizi owns 5 storied apartments in Bukoto, 4 in Naguru and 3 houses in Germany where he stays as he was staying as he got treatment recently and 2 houses in Mbarara. Also Keith Muhakanizi owns in total 50 square miles of land/farm. William Byaruhanga has bought land infront of rwenzori courts buildings. He wants his law firm to manage UTL affairs.”

Last week, a whistleblower petitioned the IGG seeking an investigation into the huge wealth accumulated by state minister for investment and privatization Evelyn Anite. He claimed that Anite received a bribe from Mauritius Telecom limited to award them the deal to run UTL. He insisted that it was because of the bribe that Anite decided to go against the cabinet recommendations that UTL should be given to Teleology Holdings Limited.This week, Anite told journalists that her life is in danger over UTL. When contacted to confirm whether the IGG has received Ssemwanga’s petition, Ali Munira, the Public Relations Officer in the office of the IGG confirmed receipt of the petition. Munira told the Grapevine that the IGG will soon kick off with the investigation into the petition.

By Jamil Lutakome

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